Ask Miss Caro-chan: What To Do With Older Ita Dresses?

Sorry about the complete lack of Ask Miss Caro-chan! I haven't been getting notified of new questions and just now realized I had a bunch of questions waiting for me. So hopefully I can work through the backlog of questions in the next few weeks.

My first question is a tough one that many Lolitas have to deal with:

In the past i started out as an ita loli but wish to start afresh. i have begun buying Qutieland clothing but i still have two ita dresses. What should i do with them? they cost me about $150 each and i doubt i can sell them... xXx

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have a few lace monster skeletons in my closet, but what to do with these? Especially if, like most lace monster dresses, they cost quite a bit more than they are probably worth, it's sometimes hard to just toss out a dress that cost you so much, even if you're currently embarrassed about it. Luckily, you have a few options when it comes to dresses like these.
  • Bite the bullet and sell it. You're definitely not going to get as much as you paid for it, and honestly, if you are going to sell it on the egl_comm_sales you're probably not going to get much more than $20. If you sell it on Ebay you have a little better chance of getting some more money for it, as the market is entirely different than the comm_sales. People are on the comm_sales are looking to buy Lolita and strictly Lolita, while on Ebay you're going to get cosplayers and people who just like that particular style.
  • Modify it. A better option is open to you depending on your creativity, skill, and what the original dress looked like (and is made of! Amazing, creative sewing skills really can't save a dress made out of neon pink costume satin!). If the dress is Ita simply because it has some bad lace on it, take the lace off. If it's very short, you can either attempt to add a row or two of ruffles to the bottom or wear an under skirt with it. If there are other typical Ita trademarks such as very wide corset lacing, huge bell sleeves, large and poorly made bows, all of these things can either be removed, or with some skill in sewing, modified.
  • Wear it in new ways. This is an option if your dress isn't so much Ita as it is simply out of date and not of the best quality. After you've removed any thing you feel is cheap or unattractive try to think up some unique and up-to-date ways to coordinate the dress. If the dress comes with accessories such as leg warmers, detachable sleeves that don't attach to anything, or a rectangle headdress with too much lace on it, simply don't wear that piece with the dress. If you want to try to make something that is borderline Ita be unquestionably Lolita make sure that all the other pieces in your coordinate are, without a doubt, Lolita. Make sure you're wearing a nice blouse with it, make sure your socks aren't topped with yards of extra fluffy cheap raschel lace, and wear a more up-to-date head piece like an Alice bow.
Again, not everything can be saved by some clever coordination and a seam ripper, but it doesn't hurt to try! Here are some examples of pretty typical Ita dresses that can either be transformed into something a little nicer, or that are pretty hopeless.

These two dresses are typical Ita dresses, but I think they are on the milder end of the Ita scale and can definitely be saved if worn a little differently. The first dress just needs to get rid of that weird, extra long petticoat thing out from underneath it, loose the detachable collar and the detachable long sleeves and it's a wearable Lolita dress of the Gothic persuasion. The lace up V in the back is kind of weird, but it's not too obnoxious and could easily be hidden with a long hairdo. The lace on it even looks to be black eyelet lace, which is perfectly OK. The second dress looks to be even easier, just nix the capelet with the huge rascel lace ruffle and there's a perfectly cute Kuro Lolita dress under there with minimal to no lace. Coordinate it with cutesy black shoes, some white over-the-knee socks, a purse shaped like something cute like a crown or a purse with a big emblem on it, and top it with an Alice bow and you've got a much more up-to-date outfit than the maid headdress and stripey socks that is shown with the dress.

While the second coordinate mentioned is straight forward, I wanted to do a quick virtual coordinate for the first dress, minus the sleeves and collar. Adding some decadent Gothic accessories and a small rose headband could give new life to a dress like this.


Here are two typically Ita dresses that certainly look like dresses I bought in my early Lolita days! The first dress is covered in huge stiff bows, to the point that you can hardly see the actual dress under all of them! The second dress, while a little better, suffers from the typical problem of having wide ruffles of cheap lace. Both of these dresses can't really be worn as-is without looking very Ita-y, but with a few simple modifications by someone who knows their way around a sewing machine, even a little bit, they can be a thousand times better!

This is the first dress with the big bows and bad lace photoshopped off, while closing up on the image I found out that it had a cute scalloped hem! It looked very plain without anything on it so I've added a few details that would be relatively simple to add. Some better quality lace along the bottom hem, a simple bit of lace and corset detailing on the front, made a bit more subtle with the use of black ribbon for the lace-up, and a couple of matching bows on the straps with a little pearl chain.


For the second dress, I would remove the wide raschel lace going up the sides and along the hem and replace it with a much more narrow strip of lace. I would also remove the weird little white bows along bottom of the dress and either add an extra ruffle or wear it over an underskirt to make it look longer. I would then either change the halter strap so that the ends of the bow weren't so long or make them into regular straps. I would keep the black ribbons on the front because I like dresses with those kinds of ribbon details.

These two dresses I deem unsaveable for a few reasons. The first one simply isn't a proper shape and would be nearly impossible to make into a proper shape without remaking it completely. The best hope this dress would have would be to take off all the lace and cut it to make a blouse that is destined to only ever be worn under JSKs. The second dress just has way too much going on and also has a lot of weird stuff happening like asymmetrical hem lines and whatever is happening in the collar/sleeve area. Again, this dress would need a nearly complete remake to make it wearable. Dresses like this, that would involve too much work, simply aren't worth it and in that case I would try to sell, or just say to hell with it and give it to GoodWill.

I am not suggesting that you go out and buy some dresses of questionable taste just for the sheer joy of spending a few hours carefully ripping lace off of them, but if you have something like this sitting around in your closet that you are too embarrassed to wear, but cost too much to just give away, why not give it a shot if you have a little bit of sewing skills.

I actually have a few dresses sitting around in my closet that are from my early Lolita days that instead of just selling for $15 I am thinking of new ways to wear. One of these dresses is an older Hot Topic dress, the only Hot Topic dress that could actually be considered Lolita. It was a black and white dress that was actually, I think, a pretty accurate Angelic Pretty replica (it actually looks a lot like the second modified dress in this post!). It's just a little short and a very old design, but I hope to make either a cute black and white Sweet Lolita coordinate with it or a sort of old school coordinate. In contrast, I also have a couple of other dresses that barely can be called Lolita hiding away waiting for me to just plain get rid of.

What kind of old dresses do you have sitting around in your closet? What do you plan on doing with them? Giving them another chance, giving them a make over, or just let them gather dust?

12 comments:

  1. Great Advice!
    I had NO idea those dresses would be so salvageable!
    (Also, I'm still amazed at the wonders of photoshop. Everytime...)

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  2. I know of a friend who burnt her first ita dress XD I own my first dress, it was a present and hand sewn just for me. I will never sell it or alter it. Sometimes I'm wearing it when I go to a party. :)

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  3. I'm currently making a highwaistskrit out of a jsk that didn't fit me. Maybe that's a good idea for ita dresses, too. ^3^

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  4. I do actually have one dress lying around that I've already removed some lace off the neckline. It's grey with black clubs and spades on the skirt. Maybe you've seen it on F+F, it comes in a white and red version too with hearts and diamonds. My first "real" lolita attempt was made with that dress and it was not a good one (can't believe I stepped outside wearing that outfit as the shirt was terrible and the coord in all... *shudders*).

    Now when I've gotten more into the lolita scene and is starting to learn what looks good and what doesn't, I've sometimes worn the JSK with a sweater or blouse OVER the bodice, since I really don't like the bodice. XD Now that I've learned to sew too, I'm thinking of turning it into a skirt instead, removing the bodice completely and remove the weird white lace from the bottom of the skirt and add some black nice lace to the hem instead.. Since even if I don't really like the dress, I like the skirt part of it as long as I get rid of the white lace.

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  5. I've had a dress similar to some of the bxw ones sitting in my closet for a few years. I did replace the worst of the lace on it, but it still needs lengthening (I think the ebay shop I bought it from took my 'skirt measurement' and used that as the length of the entire garment'. This post makes me feel a little more motivated to do something with it.

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  6. This is a really creative post! I personally am not lolita in anyway even though I love looking and reading about it, but still it's inspired me to redo some of those hideous items of clothing that I bought in a bout of weird teenage impaired judgement!

    Also, I just wanted to say thanks so much for linking some of my tutes on your tute page. I'm glad you think they'd help, I try my best :). I do love your website, I find the lolita look and lifestyle gorgeous, ever since grade 10, but I don't have the sewing patience to do it full time :(.

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  7. I'm really loving this article! I think it's a great idea to salvage a dress and this really shows that some pieces do have great potential!

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  8. This post is immensely helpful. You should do more in this style with other lolita fashions. I just have question: What is wrong with the first two? I think they are really cute actually and resemble some dresses I was looking at from Fan Plus Friend. I don't want to embarrass myself though. Please answer!

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  9. I am sorry to say I own that last ress. XD But I don't wear the sleeves or that headdress. It is too damn hot here. I wear it with poofy pants though sometomes for a semi jester look that is hard to disscribe. And the skit, plane but goes with a lot of nice outfits. ^^

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  10. If you're into cosplay there are a lot of ita dresses that can easily become "Misa" dresses or things of that nature. It's a lot easier to do that than to find someone to buy it all the time. Or if you do sell it, sell it as something like that on a cosplay site, you're a bit more likely to get some money back from some of them.

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  11. i have a dress my mother bought for me from milanoo because she knew i liked lolita, its a horrorfest of lace, and cheap material. hopefully i can cut into it and make it wearable one day.

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